Sunday, September 9, 2012

Silent Film Star: Belle Bennett.

Belle Bennett (April 22, 1891 – November 4, 1932). Her father was Billie Bennett, owner of a circus. He trained her to be a trapeze performer after she spent some years in, The Sacred Heart Convent in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

By age thirteen she was performing with stock companies, which led Bennett to Broadway. There she appeared in theatrical productions staged by David Belasco.

Bennett was cast in minor Hollywood motion pictures like the western film, A Ticket to Red Horse Gulch (1914). Then Samuel Goldwyn selected her from among seventy-three actresses for the leading role in, Stella Dallas (1925). While filming the movie her son, sixteen-year-old William Howard Macy, died. Macy posed as Bennett's brother worried that her employers might find out how old she really was. Thirty-four instead of twenty-four. After playing the mother in, Stella Dallas Bennett, she was typecast for the remainder of her film career in the films: Mother Machree (1928), The Battle of the Sexes (1928), The Iron Mask (1929), Courage (1930), Recaptured Love (1930) and The Big Shot (1931).

Bennett was married three times: Jack Oaker, a sailor at the San Pedro, California submarine base, was married to her when she worked with the Triangle Film Corporation, in 1918. Her second husband was William Macy of La Crosse, Wisconsin. She later married film director Fred Windermere.

During a break in her film career Bennett performed in vaudeville at a Philadelphia, Pennsylvania theater. She collapsed on stage and underwent blood transfusions and was able to continue acting briefly.

In September 1932 she was rushed by plane from New York following a relapse of cancer which she had been suffering from for two and a half years. She died that November at the age of 41.


  1. Thank you for a lovely portrait of a forgotten star.

  2. I had read alittle about Belle before, thanks for sharing about the forgotten Bennett.

  3. I hope to catch her next performance on TCM September 30th in the silent film, The Battle of the Sexes (1928).


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